Exploring Broadstairs, UK with a Nikon FM2 (Review and Sample Shots)

The Video

If you have any questions around locations or how/why I did certain things, contact me using any of the social channels below. Or, just use the comment section after the pictures. IF YOU ARE ON A MOBILE BROWSER hit that PLAY button below to subscribe to my YOUTUBE channel!

The Location

Broadstairs is a coastal town on the Isle of Thanet, in Kent, England. It is about 130 km east of London. If you are living in London, there is a fast train from Stratford International Station that will have you on the beach in around 1 hour 25min.

When you arrive it is a short 5 min walk to the beach, past the shopping district that includes a few hidden treasures. The thought-to-be-extinct video store made an appearance, as did a small magic shop. It turns out all their patrons are yet to disappear.

As the high street winds to a close, you pass Dickens’ house. An ode to the authour, as Broadstairs was his favourite holiday destination. It is here that you are greeted by the first of seven impressive golden sandy bays. This view is one to soak in.

Viking Bay is the main beach, featuring azure blue water, dark golden sand and many pastel coloured storage sheds. Each of which alone (or combined) make an amazing location for photography.

From here you can take a coastal walk south around the remaining 6 sandy bays. Remember to check the tidal times as you can become cut off and are then forced to get very wet feet! The walk is an absolute must!

Best times to visit Broadstairs:

  • June: Dickens Festival (A week of costumes plays and beach time)
  • Mid-August: Broadstairs Folk Week (Music and gardens)
  • October: Broadstairs Food Festival (self explanatory)

A double exposure taken on the Nikon FM2. One underexposed photo of me and one of the sunset. A double exposure taken on the Nikon FM2. One underexposed photo of me and one of the sunset.

Film is not dead!

I have been shooting a lot of video and digital photography of late. This isn’t a problem for me, but I tend to find that about once every two months I lack the drive to take photos. The cure for me has always been to disconnect the end result from the process. This allows your brain to relax when shooting and fall into the moment rather than getting the shot. Shooting film is the only way that ensures I can’t cheat!

Don’t get me wrong, I would never go back to shooting film professionally. You will have to pry my 5D (or my future equivalent) from my cold dead hands. Analogue photography always allows me fall back in love with the art of photography. The art of creation, outside of the digital realm.

If you’re ever in a creative rut then I highly recommend giving it a try.

The Nikon FM2 Mini Review

The Nikon FM2 is all you need in a great 35mm general purpose film camera. It will do everything. The camera is light, tough, accurate and fast. To be 100% comfortable with the camera you will need an understanding of how to manually focus and expose an image.

If you need a refresher course on the fundamentals of exposure then you can check out my article here.

The beauty of a fully mechanical camera is that all you need is a roll of film. Aside from the meter, you do not need a battery to take photos. You wind to advance the film, this loads the shutter system then “click” that energy is let go and the image is captured.

This means that you put a film into the camera, thus fixing your ISO. Next you determine the aperture or shutter speed that you need to achieve the look you desire. Next you alter the setting that you have not chosen until the meter indicates a correct exposure.

The Nikon FM2 uses a centre weighted meter. Therefore you need to be careful. If you have a very bright subject in the centre of the image it will tend to expose for that which will result in very dark surroundings. I tend to find that erring on the over-exposure side of things (in this situation) yeilds better results.

However, this camera is not for street photography. If you are looking solely for a street photography camera then I always recommend looking at rangefinders. Manually focusing on a moving subject with an SLR is difficult. If you want a general “do it all” kind of camera then the Nikon FM2 is where I would recommend you spend your money.

Finally, you are able to pick up a used Nikon FM2 for around $200. Often with a lens or two included. Lenses are cheap and plentiful so you are never going to get bored with experimenting.

Specs

  • Fully Mechanical
  • Centre Weighted Meter
  • Shutter Speeds 1s – 1/4000s
  • Flash Sync 1/250s
  • Compatable with all AF/MF Lenses since 1958
  • Made from 1978 – 1983

For recommendations on beginner film cameras and what to look for when purchasing an old film camera, check out my full article here.

The Shots

A double exposure of Viking Bay in Broadstairs taken with the Nikon FM2.